Carina is currently the Program Manager of the Project Management Office (PMO) Analytics departments and Telemedicine Office at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. She has a passion for creating meaningful and valuable ways to allow patients to take better control over their health using digital tools and technology. Carina graduated from Western University with an Honours Specialization in Health Sciences and a Minor in Psychology. She pursued her interest in technology and patient-centered care through her post-graduate education at McMaster University where she completed a Masters of Science, in eHealth. She has worked at SJHH for five years, leading Clinical Transformation, and at Digital Health Canada previously supporting various national communities of interest and working groups.
How long have you been a member of Digital Health Canada?
I have been a proud member with Digital Health Canada since April 2014.
Why do you want to join the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors at this point in your career?
In the last seven years working in the digital health industry, I have gained an incalculable amount of leadership experience in a relatively short period of time. I would like to join the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors at this point in my career to offer a fresh perspective and insight on the latest industry trends, empower the digital health community to solve the complex challenges we are facing in healthcare through existing and new innovation channels and facilitate connections with the diverse ecosystem of members throughout the country. I thrive by making meaningful connections with my colleagues and industry peers and I have always been heavily engaged and supportive of Digital Health Canada so a nomination for this position seems like a natural fit. My passion for supporting others and knowledge sharing is evident through the hospital and community engagements I have pursued over the last decade, as well as my ability to facilitate meaningful change for healthcare organizations and support the sharing and uptake of new ideas and governance models. I would be thrilled to accept an opportunity to serve as a Digital Health Canada Board of Directors.
How does your experience align with the Digital Health Canada strategic plan and mandate?
In my current role as a Program Manager of the Project Management Office and Data Analytics teams, I wear many hats that align with the Digital Health Canada strategic plan and mandate. Advancement and Advocacy: I am a CANHealth Network “Edge”, through this partnership I have teamed up with two Canadian private sector companies to solve common healthcare system challenges, which in turn supports the growth of their business to scale to their full potential. As an example of the work completed with one business, an initiative to ensure discrete data exchange between two St. Joseph’s Health System organizations, our acute care center and our long-term care center. Under my leadership, we are the first in Canada to discreetly exchange health information between acute and long term care settings; research findings have confirmed that this digital health initiative increases timeliness and access of information for clinicians, improved workflow efficiency and process improvement and has had a positive impact on patient care. I am also pleased to say the Ministry of Health has approved for this work to be scaled throughout the Province of Ontario. Empowering Individuals: I would consider myself a servant leader. I believe success comes from learning how to work with others around you, harnessing those relationships and empowering your team to do meaningful work by removing barriers for them to be successful. I believe in encouraging thoughts and ideas, while understanding the strategic direction we need to move in. I believe it is important to learn from those before you and support those behind. Outside of work, I volunteer as a mentor to emerging eHealth and Data Science students, with a special focus on providing women and non-binary people the opportunity to advance in the technology field. Similarly, patient empowerment has always been my core passion. Recently, the work I supported with Identos on the Ontario trusted account will provide a valuable foundation for identity management. This tool allows patients to securely access multiple health-related services without logging in and out each time, simplifying the login experience and improve wayfinding for patients. Knowledge sharing + Life-Long Learning: I have a deep commitment to building, using, and enhancing technology to improve the lives of our patients in Hamilton and beyond. In November, 2021, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, under my leadership within the Digital Solutions Project Management Office, received the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) Stage 7 designation, the highest designation possible, for its digital health information system. This achievement recognizes the organization as receiving the highest level of the internationally recognized scale for digital health records, HIMSS 7. Achieving this milestone means we not only meet key performance indicators for more than 100 criteria, our hospital clinicians and physicians were able to speak to the benefits, adoption and improved outcomes as a result of this implementation. It is because of this passion and leadership in life-long learning that my next task is to achieve the Analytics Maturity and Adoption Model (AMAM) Stage 7, another first for SJHH.
What unique skills, perspectives and contributions would you bring to the Digital Health Canada Board?
I have a deep commitment in using technology to improve the lives of our patients and those throughout the region. My extensive understanding of digital health enablers, provincial priorities and technology assets has enabled me to advance health system outcomes. The last two years have brought forward unprecedented challenges, which inspired me to innovate and solve complex issues with evidence-based, digital health tools. In alignment with the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine, when faced with the task of providing patients with safe and fulsome medical assessments from the comfort of their home, I supported the first virtual emergency department in the province. With continued regional advocacy I have helped ensure the infrastructure and resources were in place to expand the model across Ontario. My understanding of emerging technology enabled me to build governance and operational structures required to successfully partner with the Ontario eServices Program to enhance patient experiences through eReferral. SJHH is the first hospital in Ontario to have a streamlined, fully digital eReferral pathway. In 2021, I formalized the hospital’s Telemedicine Office to support ongoing digital patient engagement initiatives including ongoing management of MyDovetale (St. Joe’s patient portal), Virtual Care, as well as implementation of new functionality (e.g. remote patient monitoring, eCheck-in, etc.). The Telemedicine Office ensures that SJHH is leading and caring by continuing to partner with our Patient Family Advisory Committee to develop digital assets and programs that empower patients to be active participants in their care journey. Through my management, the use of SJHH’s MyDovetale platform has increased significantly – over 130,000 patients have activated a MyDovetale account, which provides them with access to view their appointments, view lab test and diagnostic results done through SJHH, and the ability to securely message their care team. In addition to the patient portal, the organization experienced rapid adoption of virtual care which saw virtual care in our clinics increase to over 80% in some areas. Creating pathways for patients to access their health information digitally is a significant priority of Ontario Health and I am proud of the work we have done to move this forward. I am passionate about data, which led me to establish a dedicated analytics department at SJHH in 2020. This required me to create a strategic work plan, organizational structure and new reporting pathways to meet the growing digital needs of the organization. Now, more than ever, we rely on data to make quick decisions. I am pleased to say we are shifting our focus from reactive to predictive analytics and have recently been the first organization in Canada to pilot Epic’s cognitive computing data models. With this, we can focus on eliminating biases in gender or race as we can customize tools to provide care that’s specific to the needs of those requesting it. In addition to my past experiences, I have exceptional interpersonal skills, which requires effective communication with clinicians, colleagues, vendors, stakeholders, and patients to ensure technology changes are adopted successfully. I have strong leadership skills, which are evident through my ability to lead by example and by encouraging professional growth not only within my team, but through the mentorship of others within the organization.
Do you or have or have you ever had any direct patient care experience (clinical)?
I do not have any direct patient care experience, however, I have experience working alongside clinical stakeholders in a hospital or community practice setting to implement technology driven practice changes and achieve positive patient impacts through process improvement or data driven insights.
What segments within the Digital Health Canada community do you feel you will best represent? Select all that apply.
- Emerging Professionals
- Healthcare Institutions
With which Digital Health Canada committees, task groups or activities have you volunteered in past five years? Describe your most significant contributions to Digital Health Canada’s mission.
I facilitated the launch of three Emerging Professionals “Meet Ups”, two as part of the eHealth Conference and one at the University of Toronto. In 2015, I was one of three lucky recipients to win the Emerging Professional eHealth Conference Chair for a Day contest and provide a welcome to conference attendees as part of the opening ceremonies. As part of my continuing advocacy for Digital Health, I volunteered at the Digital Health Canada Conference in June 2019. As part of my dedication for knowledge sharing and advancement, I have conducted several Webinar Wednesdays, including: Continuum of Care: Acute to Long-Term Care Home Patient Transfers (September 2021) and A New Model of Virtual Care in the Ontario Healthcare Landscape, November 2019. As part of my early employment with Digital Health Canada, I facilitated and contributed to both Profiles in Virtual Care Delivery, 2017 and the 2015 Canadian Telehealth Survey and Comprehensive Report.
What other board appointments or relevant leadership experiences have you had in the past five years?
I am a committed member of the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton community as I sit on numerous internal and external committees with the goal of continuous improvement, learning, service, and discovery – including the Partnerships and Innovation Committee, Corporate Priorities and Planning Committee, CANHealth Network Collaborative, the Epic Canadian Collaborative, eHealth Centre of Excellence eReferrals Steering group, eServices Provincial eOrdering Working Group and various Digital Health Canada groups. At the hospital, I conduct the Project Management segment of the Emerging Leaders Program, created to provide staff with future career goals in formal hospital leadership, with skills needed to advance their career. In my spare time, I volunteer at the YWCA Hamilton Uplift Program as a Data Science Mentor, providing women and non-binary people the opportunity to reskill or upskill in the advanced manufacturing and specialized technology fields through certification and training. I also participate in the eHealth Student’s Association Mentorship Program, mentoring current Masters of Science, in eHealth students
Please tell us why you feel Digital Health Canada members should vote for you.
I have a passion for creating meaningful and valuable ways for patients to take better control over their health using digital tools and technology. The initiatives I have led over the past seven years will continue to provide lasting benefits to patients and providers within the Hamilton region and beyond. Many have been leveraged by other health systems and organizations to be scaled provincially, to note eReferrals integration and the Acute Care and Long Term Care Data Exchange. I believe my secret ingredient for success is my innate passion to transform care for all Canadians. I am proud of the work that we, as a Digital Health Canada community, and I am excited for the future. The position of a Digital Health Canada Board of Director would be a dream for me because I know I can offer my emerging leadership views and experiences with healthcare system transformation, building relationships, and having a holistic view of the future of health care community.
Do you currently hold the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems – Canada (CPHIMS-CA) credential?
No. Committed to achieving my CPHIMS-CA.
What is your educational background? Please list all degrees and designations.
- Honours Specialization in Health Sciences, Minor in Psychology – Western University
- Master of Science in eHealth – McMaster University
- Project Management Professional (PMP) – 2019 Prosci Change Management Certified – 2019 Certificate in Big Data Analytics – York University (In Progress)